This week’s winning athletes join a long list of players recognized for their exceptional efforts. Previous Players of the Week include: The last two Heisman trophy winners, Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M and Washington Redskins starting quarterback Robert Griffin III, as well as Cincinnati Bengals running back Rex Burkhead, SMU starting quarterback Garrett Gilbert and University of Texas at Austin running back Johnathan Gray, the only two-time Built Ford Tough Texas HS Football Player of the Year.
CLASS 2-A: JaQuan Hemphill, Jr., Running Back/Quarterback/Defensive Back, Coleman:
When Coleman’s quarterback went down in the second quarter last week, Coach Brad Ballard knew exactly what to do. He turned the reigns over to his star running back, JaQuan Hemphill—and didn’t miss a beat. JaQuan led Coleman to a 44-14 victory over Colorado City, returning the opening kickoff 77 yards for a touchdown, rushing 25 times for 214 yards (an 8.8 yards per carry average) and three TDs, catching two passes for 52 yards and, by the way, completing six of eight passes for 83 yards in his first-ever appearance at QB. While that might be enough for some players, JaQuan wasn’t done. He made eight tackles on defense, intercepted a pass and forced a fumble. The records don’t indicate whether he tended to the snack stand at halftime. His rushing performance put him over the 1,000-yard barrier for the season (128 carries for 1,030 yards and 12 TDs). The Bluecats next face highly-ranked Crane, led by last week’s Built Ford Tough Player of the Week, Gunner Tatum, in the Bi-District playoff round on Friday.
A talented all-around athlete—he also participates in basketball, power lifting, and track, JaQuan sports an outstanding 3.6 GPA. He is heavily involved in a non-denominational group called The Cross, which performs community service in the area. He’s also a regular at Christian functions year round and frequently collects canned food for an area food bank.
“JaQuan really stepped up this year,” says Coach Brad Ballard. “Through his leadership, he has raised everyone’s intensity level. He’s got a great work ethic, never missing a summer workout nor skipping a Saturday morning health check after every game. He’s always asking how to improve himself on and off the field. He’s done a pretty good job of that!”
Information for this story provided by Ford.